The Federal Court of Canada has ordered Bell TV to pay $20,000 in damages (plus an additional $1,000 in legal fees) for violating the privacy rights of a Nova Scotia satellite tv customer. The case arose when Bell TV surreptitiously obtained permission to run a credit check by including it as a term in its rental agreement without telling the customer. The customer asked for an apology and to remove the credit check from his record. Unsatisfied with the response, he filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (which issued a well-founded finding) and later an action at the federal court.
When Bell did not bother to respond, the federal court found that the company did not offer any compensation or implement the privacy commissioner’s recommendations. Accordingly, the court awarded $10,000 in damages and $10,000 in exemplary damages “for Bell’s conduct at the time of breach of the privacy rights and thereafter.” The court added an additional $1,000 for disbursements and other costs.